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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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No:28, Yıldız Mh., Çırağan Cd., 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
The luxurious lives of Ottoman grandees are unveiled at the Four Seasons Bosporus. In the restored Atik Pasha Palace, Turkish interior designer Sinan Kafadar has created a space that effortlessly blends the decadent artisan features of the palace...
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Sultanahmet, Tevkifhane Sokak No:1, 34122 Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Once Istanbul’s notorious prison, a lavish conversion in 1996 transformed this site, set amid the squiggle of lanes that radiate behind the colossal competing domes of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, into the city’s landmark Four...
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Teşvikiye, Bronz Sk. D:no: 4, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
My windows open up to a view of the blue Bosphorus. My oversized suite oozes old-world charm while offering the modern conveniences of halogen lights, a television in the bathroom mirror, filtered tap water, and an iPod dock. The fixtures,...
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Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:52, Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi, 34430 Tepebaşı Beyoğlu/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the world’s iconic hotels, the Pera Palace first swung open its doors in 1892 and has been a meeting point for travelers in the city for more than 100 years. Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie clicked at their typewriters in the...
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Suzer Plaza, Askerocagi Caddessi, No:6, 34367, Vişnezade Mahallesi, Elmadağ Cd., 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul overlooks the curvaceous bends of the Bosporus from a superb central location just a short stroll from Taksim Square. Classically styled rooms come with feather beds and 300-thread-count linens. Turkey’s famed Iznik...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these palace walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the tile-and-mosaic-lined corridors...
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İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The great shopping street of more modern Istanbul, Istiklal Caddesi, is across the Bosphorus from the old Sultanahmet. It's packed with lovely sidestreets and shops.
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Hobyar Mahallesi, Ankara Cad Evren Çarşısı No:17 D:44, 34110 Sirkeci/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
One morning outside Sultanahmet I saw what I believe to be a suffi. He looked somewhat like a Turkish version of Santa Claus (which was odd because it was late December), but I don't really know what else he would be with that beard.
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Esenyurt/Istanbul, Turkey
My Turkish friend Erem introduced me to these highly addictive "wet burgers" the minute I got to my hotel near Taksim Square. After a 17-hour flight, the compact burger—a garlicky patty inside a soft bun that's been doused in tomato sauce—...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Merkez Mah., 34421 Fatih/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
There are two ways to walk to the dizzy heights of the Galata Tower from Karakoy Tram Station. One is to follow the pedestrian traffic and ascend an uninviting steep staircase close to the tram way, the other is to take the more photo-worthy and...
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Istanbul, Turkey
My roommates and I got really sick of people trying to constantly trying to convince us to go on overpriced tours while living and traveling in Turkiye. At the time we were students, and like most students, we didn't have a lot of money to spend,...
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When the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality host the International Istanbul Tulip Festival every April most locals travel north - past the second Bosphorus Bridge - to Emirgan Park to see 117 acres of parkland blooming with millions of tulips....
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The Basilica Cistern is a must-see on any Istanbul itinerary. If you take a tour of the city, you may see major mosques, houses, and churches, but this is a truly unique experience. It is located right across the street from the entrance to Aya...
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Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more intense, the Spice Market is equal parts tourist trap and necessary shopping stop for cooks and foodies. Meet the original spice girl at Ucuzcular (remember Area 51 to find her booth), one of the few...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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Sultan Ahmet Parkı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
When the sun finally dips behind the minaret skyline and the moon starts to rise, Sultanahmet Park—between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia—brightens up with a colourful lighting display. In summer enjoy the show by savoring a creamy Turkish ice...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My ultimate favourite thing to do to end a perfect day in Istanbul is to scale the heights of Sultanahmet’s buildings to find a rooftop restaurant – known as a terrace restaurant. Some terraces, such as the Seven Hills Restaurant on Tevfikhane...
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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sok, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The medieval round Galata Tower built in 1348 has played many roles for Istanbul over the years: A watchtower for Bosphorus trade, an observation deck for spotting fires, the setting of a legendary flight across the Bosphorus, and now a tourist...
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Istanbul, Turkey
"Bir lira, bira lira!" you'll hear from food cart vendors as you stroll though the streets of Istanbul. It means, "one lira, one lira," so if you're hungry and on a budget you might want to check out what's on offer. These guys peddle corn on the...
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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
At the north end of the Galata Bridge, and just before the start of the seafood market, stands a small kiosk where a man grills mackerel filets for sandwiches. A few shakes of spices, some salad, a squeeze of lemon, and you're on your way to the...
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Buchanan St, Glasgow, UK
If shopping’s your bag, make a bee-line for Glasgow’s “Style Mile,” where the concentration of shops here (some 200) makes it the UK’s largest retail center outside London. The choices include everything from massive department-store emporiums...
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37 Wellington Ave, Larne BT40 1EH, UK
The best drive in Northern Ireland, this is a dramatic 120-mile coastal route between the green Glens of Antrim on one side and the spectacular coastline with its cliffs, unusual rock formations such as the giant’s face (pictured, above) and Giant...
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Via Ricasoli, 58/60, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Most people head to this ex-art school to ogle the world’s most famous nude statue. Michelangelo’s David was carved from a single five-meter-high block of milky-white marble in 1504 and originally stood in Piazza della Signoria....
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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
The cathedral, usually called the Duomo, is Florence’s most recognizable building. You are able to catch glimpses of its magnificent red-tiled cupola from just about anywhere in the city center. Construction on the church...
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Bürkliplatz, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
The tree-lined Utoquai and Arboretum at Enge offer excellent views of Lake Zurich and the snow-capped Alps, but the iconic spot for lake-gazing is at the Bürkliterrasse, with its statue of Zeus and Ganymede and straight-shot view of the Alps. ...
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Uetliberg, 8143 Zürich, Switzerland
Yearning for fresh air, for a spontaneous hike, not too far away from Zurich? Don't you fret: the opportunity is in Zurich itself, the Uetliberg tower is visible from all over Zurich - on the non foggy days, of course! Take the Uetliberg train...
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Maagpl. 5, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland
Atop the Prime Tower, Switzerland’s tallest building, Clouds offers two dining experiences: an ambitious restaurant that serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as a Jerusalem artichoke velouté with smoked mackerel as well as a bistro with more...
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Geroldstrasse 17, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland
It seems like every other person in Zurich—at least among the label-conscious, under 40-set—has a Freitag, the cult messenger bags made from old truck tarps, with no two alike. While brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag started their brand back in...
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Mythenquai 9, 8002 Zürich, Switzerland
The most centrally-located mixed badi boasts a prime spot on Lake Zurich, though not too much swimming actually goes on here—it’s more about sunbathing, people-watching, and the occasional dip. There’s also a sauna, massage treatments and outdoor...
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Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Paris has the Sacré-Coeur, on top of Montmartre, for catch-your-breath views of the city. Zurich’s answer: the terrace at ETH Zurich. Also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and where Einstein was an alum, it lords high...